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To Polygyros in the mountains

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 30 May 2016

Monday 30 May, to Polygyros in the mountains

Beach at Kalives, ChalkidikiThe air is a bit hazy today but it is still nice and warm. Today we want to go to Polygyros, the capital of the Chalkidiki department, high in the mountains. But on the way we encounter a nice long and almost deserted beach at Kalives. It is a sandy beach that slowly runs into the sea and this becomes our favorite beach for the coming years when we are in the area. There are many nicer beaches but thios one is easy to reach, there is always plenty of space and also with high tide the sea is fairly quiet here, ideal for us. Today we stay an hour or two before we go on the road again.
Chapel outside Taxiarchis Chapel outside TaxiarchisWe go into the mountains and with a detour we drive through the forested area first to Taxiarchis and from there over the winding roads to Polygyros. In the middle of the forest we suddenly see a beautiful brick chapel. Funny how this is one is completely on its own without a village in the neighbourhood and we have no idea if the chapel is still used and for what. The building is in any case well maintained. You can find this kind of churches, that has place for only a few people at most, anywhere in Greece.
Statue of Aristotle in Polygyros The town hall of PolygyrosPolygyros is a city with about 7,500 inhabitants and lies in the middle of the woods at a height of more than 500 meters on a plateau of Mount Cholomontas, which covers the central part of Chalkidiki. Thanks to the navigation we drive directly into the old center and can park the car near the town hall. On the square in front of it stands a life-size statue of Aristotle, the philosopher from the 4th century BC. who was born in Stageiras, not far from here. He was also the teacher of Alexander the Great. Nowadays you see statues of him in many more cities in Greece, but then he usually looks a bit older. Nearby is an archeological museum where finds from the neighborhood can be seen. Polygyros is a nice place to walk through, it is spacious with lots of squares.
St Nicholas church in Polygyros Electricity meters are outside here, PolygyrosOf course there is also a large church; I do not think there is even one village or hamlet in all of Greece where there is no church. The Greek Orthodox faith is still the state religion of the country and attempts to disconnect state from religion are not very succesfull in Greece. Especially from the church itself there is of course a lot of resistance.
What also strikes us here are the electricity meters that are often mounted on the outside of a house. Useful for the meter reader, but it should not rain too often!
Flowers in PolygyrosBecause it is not yet a high summer, many flowers bloom. In the wild there are about 6,000 different types of flower, including very beautiful orchids, but also in the villages you can see many flower boxes that are well cared for. If it gets really hot in the summer, the most of it will wither away and the landscape will be a lot less colorful. At this altitude it is indeed noticeably cooler than at sea level, but we can still sit outside at a restaurant for some food.
View from the mountains at Polygyros A dead snake on the roadWe drive to the east through the mountains. The main road is wide and good but there are also narrower roads that run along deep ravines, I personally find that less pleasant, especially when the ravine is on my side of the car. We do not see many animals except for a dead snake on the road. You can see them crossing here occasionally or just sunbathing because the asphalt is much warmer. With the exception of a viper species, the snakes in Greece are not poisonous. In the vicinity of the village Arnaia we see a fox that suddenly crosses the road.
The coast at Nea Roda, AthosWe reach the coast at Stratoni. In the neighborhood is an excavation but we will visit it another time, we want to see the north of the peninsula Athos. I can not even go south because in the monks' area only men are allowed to come. Via Nea Roda we drive to Ouranoupoli, a nice little town where we take a break. Here is also a desk where pilgrims and curious men can get a permit to visit Agion Oros, as Mount Athos is called in Greek. But we are not interested in that.
The Kremlin at Nea MoudaniaAt the end of the afternoon we drive along the coast to Nea Moudania and then through the inland around Paralia Dionisiou. There we encounter a strange red structure called the Kremlino. It is a replica of the Kremlin and is a theme restaurant or nightclub. No idea if it was built especially for the Russian tourists, but there are quite a few of them in this area. There are also a few Russian families in our hotel. Fortunately, they are not as loud as the Russian ladies we had as neighbors in Corfu last year.
In the evening we hang around our apartment and walk to a restaurant along the beach. Under the apartments in our hotel is an open terrace where the owners often sit and some of the other guests. Just like the past few days, we also spend a lot of time there every evening talking to Michael and Vassiliki, a very nice and pleasant couple who run the complex.


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